Sunday, September 21, 2014

Manners of Matter

Kõji Enokura, Symptom-Sea-Body (P. W. No. 40), 1972, silver gelatin print, 40 x 60 cm


'Sculpture is something you bump into when you back up to look at a painting.' The abstract American painter Ad Reinhardt couldn't have put it better.[1] The exhibition Manners of Matter at the Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg approaches this misunderstanding of volume from exactly the opposite direction and explores the connections between the body, sculpture, image and dance through work by some ten contemporary artists.

Photographs, videos, 16 mm films, sculptures and installations, done by nine artists from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, question the body in its way of occupying space. How does it physically interact with the world in counterpoint to the waves and waves of images washing over us in an era dominated by screens? Coined in a 1936 essay on dance by Paul Valéry, the expression 'Manners of Matter' is meant to rehabilitate the body in its movement and dialogue with its surroundings.

Thus a dancer elegantly moves amid Brancusi sculptures and a man tries to hold back the ocean, stretching out along a wave on the beach. Another writhes about on pedestals, replaying the pose struck by Henry Moore's silhouettes, while odd pieces of chewing gum improvise their own dance.

Manners of Matter offers a physical experience of the body in contact with interactive images, films and sculptures. Feel forms and materials, face off with immense concrete sculptures, thread your way between narrow elastic cords and take a few hesitant steps to try to make out what is hidden behind the strange round of characters from a black-and-white film. The whole variegated exhibition is playing out in the same château where in 1771 it was said of the court of Prince Charles Eugene of Wurtemberg that one could behold 'the most beautiful, harmonious and expert dance' there.

Constantin Brancusi, Ulla von Brandenburg, Michael Dean, Kõji Enokura, Esther Kläs, Bruce McLean, Jean-Luc Moulène, Shimabuku and Alina Szapocznikow.

 Curated by Chris Sharp.

Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg, Montbéliard

Saturday, September 13, 2014

How to Become A Non-Artist

 How to Become A Non-Artist is a project Ane Hjort Guttu carried out with her four-year-old son. Together they investigated what could comprise an artwork, with her son creating various “installations” around the house. Documented as a narrated slideshow, the work explores the heritage of the readymade from a very personal and humorous angle.

Talk with Marcelo Cidade and Kostis Velonis

September 20 / 12:00 pm :  Modulario, Museo TamayoMexico City.

Trickster / The variable practice

A Whales Architects, The Turk, 2014
The expanded term “trickster”, as a deity that, in shamanistic mythologies, bears the characteristics of an anthropomorphic animal but also the qualities of a mythological hero who breaks the laws while being in fact a seducer. The game between two related definitions – the one who works miracles and the trickster – can be useful for appreciating a direction of today’s visual production. If we consult the ancient Greek definition of “metis”, which means cunningness and skill, we see that doing the trick was coming along with both the materialization of a technical invention or immediate necessity, and the styles of the artistic practice.
The problem arisen unexpectedly, the apparent impasse not predicted in the original design, lurks as contingency in the practices of the artists examined here, as well as in our lives. But through the multiple and variable wavering of Metis, it turns into a beneficial accident, something not only manageable but almost desired. The point of friction operates as a signal for the change of course and tactics. It did and does indicate the internal dynamics of situations, goes back to Odysseus and his “many devices”, is opportunistic in the strategic meaning of the term, outside its moralistic and negative meaning, and joins up with “cunning intelligence”: the kind of noesis that Plato overthrew for the purpose of establishing the idealistic thinking.The vision of the curator of this exhibition is to assemble works of contemporary artists who, by their tactics, bring forth the reading of the world as a permanent global variation, where apparently insignificant details of daily practice find their meaning in the evolution of things, and the conjunctures are no longer problematic imponderable factors but the field of genesis of new dynamics.

Valentina Karga, "Summer school for Applied Autonomy" , 2014

In those works and tactics, a kind of intelligence still survives, which does not paralyze in front of the unpredictable (the conjunctions), which is able to cope with perplexities in front of the distance that separates an ideal project from the effort of its implementation.
Participating artists: A Whales Architects, Arvanitis Nikos, Kamaris Stephanos, Karga Valentina, Kessanlis Nikos, Kotionis Zissis, Kotsoni Eleni, Ntelakos Apostolos, Pantazopoulou Ioanna, Sachini Nana, Sachpazis Costas, Sagri Georgia, Sepetzoglou Nikos, Touloudis Petros.
Curators: Alexandros Psychoulis, Kostis Velonis
theoretical back-up: Phoebe Giannisi gallery, Athens : 29.9 – 22.11.2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

In the Trance

A pretty anarchist said to me

It's not that great love happens

What happened became your great love

Her echo had an ancient glow & so

proved buoyant for my little craft
I left the world & felt a world
The bee loading its gloves with powder

The albatross wanting one thing from the sea
Nothing can wreck our boat said she
& when the water felt the glacier
The future held a present tense
The present held a future without cease

Brenda Hillman

From Practical Water, 2009

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A House for Everyone

Maison Steckermann, Paul Chemetov (architecte) Andre Bonati (ingenieur), 1972. 

Love Story

Eight months ago, I came across a passage in a book that has haunted me since. It was in Michael Ignatieff’s biography of Isaiah Berlin, and it concerns a night Berlin spent in Leningrad in 1945. Berlin was hanging out when a friend asked if he’d like to go visit Anna Akhmatova. Not knowing much about her, Berlin said yes.
Twenty years older than Berlin, Akhmatova had been a great pre-revolutionary poet. Since 1925, the Soviets had allowed her to publish nothing. Her first husband had been executed on false charges in 1921. In 1938, her son was taken prisoner. For 17 months, Akhmatova had stood outside his prison, vainly seeking news of him.
Berlin was taken to her apartment and met a woman still beautiful and powerful, but wounded by tyranny and the war. At first, their conversation was restrained. They talked about war experiences and British universities. Visitors came and went.
By midnight, they were alone, sitting on opposite ends of her room. She told him about her girlhood and marriage and her husband’s execution. She began to recite Byron’s “Don Juan” with such passion that Berlin turned his face to the window to hide his emotions. She began reciting some of her own poems, breaking down as she described how they had led the Soviets to execute one of her colleagues.
By 4 in the morning, they were talking about the greats. They agreed about Pushkin and Chekhov. Berlin liked the light intelligence of Turgenev, while Akhmatova preferred the dark intensity of Dostoyevsky.
Deeper and deeper they talked, baring their souls. Akhmatova confessed her loneliness, expressed her passions, spoke about literature and art. Berlin had to go to the bathroom but didn’t dare break the spell. They had read all the same things, knew what the other knew, understood each other’s longings. That night, Ignatieff writes, Berlin’s life “came as close as it ever did to the still perfection of art.” He finally pulled himself away and returned to his hotel. It was 11 a.m. He flung himself on the bed and exclaimed, “I am in love; I am in love.”
Today we live in a utilitarian moment. We’re surrounded by data and fast-flowing information. “Our reason has become an instrumental reason,” as Leon Wieseltier once put it, to be used to solve practical problems.
The night Berlin and Akhmatova spent together stands as the beau ideal of a different sort of communication. It’s communication between people who think that the knowledge most worth attending to is not found in data but in the great works of culture, in humanity’s inherited storehouse of moral, emotional and existential wisdom.

Berlin and Akhmatova could experience that sort of life-altering conversation because they had done the reading. They were spiritually ambitious. They had the common language of literature, written by geniuses who understand us better than we understand ourselves.
The night also stands as the beau ideal of a certain sort of bond. This sort of love depends on so many coincidences that it only happens once or twice in a lifetime. Berlin and Akhmatova felt all the pieces fitting amazingly into place. They were the same in many ways. There was such harmony that all the inner defenses fell down in one night.
If you read the poems Akhmatova wrote about that night, you get the impression that they slept together, but, according to Ignatieff, they barely touched. Their communion was primarily intellectual, emotional and spiritual, creating a combination of friendship and love. If friends famously confront the world side by side and lovers live face to face, Berlin and Akhmatova seemed to somehow enact both postures at once. They shared and also augmented each other’s understanding.
For Berlin, this night was the most important event of his life. Akhmatova was stuck in the Soviet Union, living under a regime of manipulation, fear and lies. She suffered horrendously for it. The regime decided that she had cavorted with a British spy. She was expelled from the Writers’ Union. Her son was thrown into prison. She was desolated but never blamed Berlin, speaking of him fervently and writing movingly about the numinous magic of that night.
I’m old enough to remember when many people committed themselves to this sort of life and dreamed of this sort of communion — the whole Great Books/Big Ideas thing. I am not sure how many people believe in or aspire to this sort of a life today. I’m not sure how many schools prepare students for this kind of love.

Text by David Brooks

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Earth Overshoot Day arrives earlier as we consume too much for planet to replenish

The latest grim news about the Earth’s resources is that we are using them up faster and faster every year, and that is creating bigger and bigger economic inequalities between countries.
We hit what is known as Earth Overshoot Day even earlier this year – on 19 August
Global Footprint Network, the environmental think-tank that monitors mankind’s impact on the planet, working with the World Wide Fund for Nature, said we are running out of irreplaceable reserves.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Je donnerais ma vie

Claude Cahun, Je donnerais ma vie, August 1936.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Theater of the World

Every city is reimagined and rebuilt as a result of a spectacle. Whether it is to boost tourism, to complete political promises or to encourage nationalism, the architecture of a city is often ornamented to demonstrate progress. Ever since the representation of nations at the World Fair´s from the XIX century, to the post-war urban renovation projects, buildings raise as artificial monuments that later become obsolete even when they disguise the urban reality.
The Theater of the World looks into the work of different artists interested in architecture as a place for political and social representation. Although, more than revealing the failed utopias from the past, this exhibition reflects on the world as stage, where the monuments, palaces, ruins and social housing projects coexist and renovate under the same façade of nation and apparent development.

Artists : Alexánder Apostol,Yto Barrada, Marcelo Cidade, Nathan Coley, Livia Corona, José Dávila, Marjolijn Dijkman, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Angela Ferreira, Andreas Fogarasi, Meschac Gaba, Carlos Garaicoa, Terence Gower Pedro Reyes, Pablo Hare, Heidrun Holzfeind-Christoph Draeger, David Maljkovic, Olivia Plender, Anri Sala, Kostis Velonis

Curated by Andrea Torrenblanca.
Curatorial Assistant Ixel Rion. 
Museo Tamayo, Mexico City

Friday, July 25, 2014


Push Pin Studios: Seymour Chwast, Cy Nelson- Art Director, Dutton

Sailor Friends

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Whole Nation Builds the Castle

Antoni Chodorowski's cartoon commenting on the popular interest in the reconstruction of the Royal Castle.The banner reads “The Whole Nation Builds the Castle”, a play on a much repeated slogan of the Bierut era, “The Whole Nation builds its Capital”. Poland, 1975.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Political Speech -Redefining Sculpture

Kunsthalle Athena invites Kostis Velonis and Socratis Socratous - participating artists in the exhibition This is Not My Beautiful House- to a discussion about their artistic work.
Both artists, choosing sculpture as their medium, make a critical comment upon contemporary reality and undertake a new approach on art.

Kostis Velonis’ sculptures, most often made of wood, articulate narratives that link personal stories to the revisiting of historical events and material cultural facts, including the stage production of avant-garde theatre and working class history. His intention is to evoke contradictory ideas, using the simple materials of a failed builder.

Socratis Socratous’ work refers to an osmosis of politics and art, even though it often has actual political ramifications. At the same time, it mirrors the limits reached by the artist. His installations are often a composition of a series of photographs and the issues that follow from them, together with the utility of ready-mades, while his sculptures appear to refer to a ‘violated’ sense of reality.

The two artists will analyse their work as well as the course of their artistic production, their influences and points of reference, the way their work relates to politics, history and contemporary sociopolitical circumstances. Furthermore, they will elaborate on how forms and materials converse with each other, composing a potentially new approach on the role and the significance of art today. Through this encounter, they will attempt to share their visions with the public, as well as the other elements which constitute their artistic universe.

Thursday, July 10, 20:00

Political Speeches 2014 are part of
This is Not My Beautiful House exhibition
Anastasia Ax, Apostolos Georgiou, Socratis Socratous and Kostis Velonis
 May 16 – September 11, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Where is the Entrance to the Town

Where is the Entrance to the Town, 2014
Wood, oil, acrylic
54 x 39 x 23 cm 


Memorial sign of concrete and stone, Talnakh, Norilsk, Siberia, 1970. Photo O.Kuzmin.

A Text That Should Never Have Been Written?

Text by Ekaterina Degot

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



Το Cascando είναι μουσικός όρος που δηλώνει την επιβράδυνση του ρυθμού και την ταυτόχρονη μείωση της έντασης. Αυτή η ερμηνευτική εξέλιξη συνήθως, προϊδεάζει τον ακροατή για το επερχόμενο τέλος. Στο Cascando, ένα ραδιοφωνικό θεατρικό του Σάμουελ Μπέκετ που γράφτηκε το 1961 ο αφηγητής προσπαθεί να τελειώσει μια ιστορία ή για την ακρίβεια «να βρει την ιστορία που τελειώνει όλες της ιστορίες». Η ολοκλήρωση συνεχώς ματαιώνεται. Το έργο δεν τελειώνει, απλώς σταματά.

Κωστής Βελώνης, Απόστολος Γεωργίου, Γιώργος Γυπαράκης, 
Απόστολος Ντελάκος, Μαρία Παπαδημητρίου, Αλέξανδρος Ψυχούλης 

25 Ιουνίου - 15 Σεπτεμβρίου
CASK gallery, Λάρισα 

What Models Can Do—A Short History of the Architectural Model in Contemporary Art

Charles Simonds, Floating Cities, 2014 (founded 1972). Wood, plastic, plaster, 115 parts, various sizes. © 2014 VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

In the field of architecture and urban planning, the three-dimensional architectural model – on a reduced scale -- continues to function as a tool when communicating planned or realised architecture. The model can efficiently provide information about larger spatial contexts, which are either experienced very differently in their original dimensions or may even be impossible to experience at all. Through its reduction in size, the model also facilitates a reduction in spatial complexity. Suddenly, it is possible to grasp things at a glance that can only be understood in their original size through the time-consuming process of a physical inspection.

It is noticeable that contemporary art frequently adopts the architectural and urban model, removing it from its tightly framed functional context, adapting its phenomenological qualities and giving it a fresh function in the context of artistic questions. In the conceptually dominated art of the last 40 years, the architectural model is opened up poetically and employed in a metaphorical and theatrical fashion. Another important aspect in this context is the mysterious aura of the miniature (Gaston Bachelard), which the eye can penetrate – without the body, so to speak, but without forgetting the physical experience.

On the one hand, reference to the architectural model helps to develop issues concerning the sculpture; on the other hand, the architectural model can serve – precisely because of its interim state between concept and realisation – as an instrument of criticism and utopia. It is this not-only-but-also, this simultaneity of direct sensory presence and yet suggestive distance to the viewer’s sphere of experience, which constitutes the fascination of the model.

The exhibition writes a brief history of the architectural model in contemporary art. It begins with the legendary model by Charles Simonds, covers the 1990s with Ludger Gerdes, Hermann Pitz and Thomas Schütte, and weaves the thread further, up to the present day, with Alicia Framis, Hinrich Sachs and Carlos Garaicoa.

Participating artists: Absalon, Michael Ashkin, Thomas Bayrle, Peter Downsbrough, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Alicia Framis, Carlos Garaicoa, Ludger Gerdes, Christian Haake, Gabu Heindl & Drehli Robnik, Matthew Day Jackson, Friederike Klotz, Langlands & Bell, Rita McBride, Isa Melsheimer, Stephan Mörsch, Sirous Namazi, Hermann Pitz, Hinrich Sachs, Michel Sauer, Thomas Schütte, Laurie Simmons & Peter Wheelwright, Charles Simonds, Stephen Willats, Elizabeth Wright und Yin Xiuzhen.

June 29–October 2014
Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Tonight i'm eating stars
and yer not gonna stop me
travelin through bars
with glitter on my stockings
My body parts are shimmerin
as i move through my own galaxy
My high heels kick up moondust
I got Saturn's rings for jewelry
Yeh, i know that times are hard
and you got yer shovel waiting on me
But tonight i'm eating stars
so you can shove yer goddamn gravity
The Sun fell down my pants
and I'm gonna dance till Gabriel blows
Search all night long till i find myself
a couple of celestial bodies
Go on you can dig yer hole
cuz tomorrow you might catch me
But tonight I'm eatin stars
and mother -fucker you can't touch me.

Poem included in the text of Nancy Scheper-Hughes “The genocidal continuum:peace -time crimes”, Power and Self , Cambridge University Press, 2002. Street Poet from Baltimore

Saturday, June 14, 2014


 Untitled (Reserve), 2014. Wood, acrylic, canvas ,46 x 29 cm

Tuiles Bisch

Tuiles Bisch, 1967

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Labor as a Tulip

Labor as a tulip
arrays its flame, nu
form, as the bulb-star,
interred, divines its ore

surging the gulf
rooting it into
appalled memento
pulsing will.

Leaf-blades score the heap.
Other wounds—penetralia—
other worlds, cries, far.
Filaments, simples

emblazoning the rei,
rebus of grief.
Unslumbering terra
premising her kill.
Karen Volkman, 2014

The Brancusi Effect

Constantin Brancusi, Le Coq, 1924-1925, Courtesy Züricher Kunstgesellschaft, Schenkung Carola Giedion-Welcker, 2011, © Silke Otto-Knapp, Courtesy greengrassi, London. Foto: Marcus Leith

The Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957) is numbered among the 20th century’s most influential artists. With his considerations of the way that pedestal and presented work relate to each other he launched a reorientation of the relationship between object, viewer and space. This had a decisive influence on minimal art and the aesthetic of the installation as a whole.
Moreover, Brancusi’s work is seen as the initial point of a reflection on the artwork’s historical and institutional positioning. The exhibition The Brancusi Effect takes this potential into account as well as the strongly documentary aspect implicit in Brancusi’s artistic approach, which was expressed in countless photographic images of installations taken in his studio. The exhibition presents original photographic material together with selected positions of contemporary art that reference Brancusi, and so creates an imposing spatial installation comprising various sculptures that reflect the recent currency of the sculptural within contemporary art.
Photographs of Brancusi in his studio in the Impasse Rosin in Paris, showcase how he used installative arrangements to present his works as a spatially unified work of art. Brancusi moreover also personally photographed individual works, in order to translate the special aura of his sculptures into the medium of photography. The loan from the Kunsthaus Zurich provides a fascinating insight into the thinking and the production methods of this artist, who, between tradition and modernity, created a work of singularity within the European avant-garde.
Further insight into the work of Brancusi can be drawn from the work Les 58 numéros flotents, an unwilling collaborative work between Brancusi, the Japanese photographer Soichi Sunami and the Italian publisher Giovanni Scheiwiller, directed both formally and conceptually by Marcel Duchamp’s invisible hand. The five photographs conclude the operation started by Duchamp on Brancusi’s work which began with the installation at Brummer Gallery in 1933 and which completely overturned the reading of the work and paved the way for its future, American perception. Alessio delli Castelli’s work on these objects, oscillating between documents and works of art, is presented in the catalogue alongside Paola Mola’s original studies on the subject.
The contemporary positions in the exhibition are characterised by an enormous heterogeneity, but share an interest in the relationship between work and pedestal, work and space and the modular principle, exemplified in one of Brancusi’s most famous works Endless Column. The combination of different materials, the coexistence of different volumes and the dissolution of the idea of a supporting pedestal in favour of an integral sculptural component, also characterise the selected works by international artists.
An Te Liu transforms Styrofoam parts from transport packaging of hi-fi equipment or household appliances into elegant modular bronze sculptures. In Ok Ok Ok Ok Ok, Sofia Hultén, spans a floor-to-ceiling filigree column out of old car jacks. The works by Koenraad Dedobbeleer muddle up the perception of the relationship between objects and their appearance; the works appear both as sculpture and as pedestal of a sculpture. Ute Müller in turn combines found materials with organically shaped sculptures into dense sculptural arrangements.
The exciting interior and exterior insights arising out of this coexistence of different sculptural positions, in the glass pavilion of Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz, in essence once more serve to emphasize the currency of Brancusi.
Artists: Saâdane Afif, Wilfrid Almendra, Nina Beier, Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan, Constantin Brancusi, André Cadere, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Alessio delli Castelli, Thea Djordjadze, Paulien Föllings, Isa Genzken, Konstantin Grcic, Jürgen Mayer H., Sofia Hultén, Haraldur Jónsson, An Te Liu, Josephine Meckseper, Ute Müller, Anca Munteanu Rimnic, Shahryar Nashat, Olaf Nicolai, Odilon Pain, Luiz Roque, Rudi Stanzel.
Curators: Vanessa Joan Müller, Nicolaus Schafhausen

Sunday, June 1, 2014

“Bobby, Ζαμβέζης, Darling, Τσάρ, Liggie, Kittie and Fanny”

Artists: Dirk Bell, Sarah Crowner, Rallou Panagiotou, Charlotte Posenenske, Georgia Sagri, Kostis Velonis and special guest. A Summer Show: “Bobby, Ζαμβέζης, Darling, Τσάρ, Liggie, Kittie and Fanny”Andreas Melas & Helena Papadopoulos Gallery

"This is Not My Beautiful House" shots

Rural Management, 2014 
Tribune Leading to the Ramp and Ramp Leading to the Tribune, 2014 
How One Can Think Freely in the Shadow of a Temple, 2008
Photo by Stathis Mamalakis

Proto Doric Column

Proto Doric Column, at the entrance to a tomb, Beni Hasan, Egypt, The Bridgeman Art Library

Publisher Places a Politically Correct Warning Label on Kant’s Critiques

Most times when I hear someone on a tear about the dangers of “political correctness” I roll  my eyes and move on. So many such complaints involve ire at being held to standards of basic human decency, say, or having to share resources, opportunities, or public spaces. But there are many exceptions, when the so-called “PC” impulse to broaden inclusivity and soften offense produces monsters of condescending paternalism. Take the above omnibus edition of “Kant’s Critiques” printed by Wilder Publications in 2008. The publisher, with either kind but painfully obtuse motives, or with an eye toward pre-empting some kind of legal blowback, has seen fit to include a disclaimer at the bottom of the title page:
This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.
Where to begin? First, we must point out Wilder Publications’ strange certainty that a hypothetical Kant of today would express his ideas in tolerant and liberal language. The supposition has the effect of patronizing the dead philosopher and of absolving him of any responsibility for his blind spots and prejudices, assuming that he meant well but was simply a blinkered and unfortunate “product” of his time. But who’s to say that Kant didn’t damn well mean his comments that offend our sensibilities today, and wouldn’t still mean them now were he somehow resurrected and forced to update his major works? Moreover, why assume that all current readers of Kant do not share his more repugnant views? Secondly, who is this editionfor? Philosopher Brian Leiter, who brought this to our attention, humorously titles it “Kant’s 3 Critiques—rated PG-13.” One would hope that any young person precocious enough to read Kant would have the ability to recognize historical context and to approach critically statements that sound unethical, bigoted, or scientifically dated to her modern ears. One would hope parents buying Kant for their kids could do the same without chiding from publishers.
None of this is to say that there aren’t substantive reasons to examine and critique the prejudicial assumptions and biases of classical philosophers. A great many recent scholars have done exactly that. In her Philosophy of Science and Race, for example, Naomi Zack observes that “according to contemporary standards, both [Hume and Kant] were virulent white supremacists.” Yet she also analyzes the problems with applying “contemporary standards” to their systems of thought, which were not necessarily racist in the sense we mean so much as “racialist,” dependent on an “ontology of human races, which underlay Hume and Kant’s value judgments about what they thought were racial differences” (an ontology, it’s worth noting, that produced systemic and institutional racism). Zack respects the vast gulf that separates our judgments from those of the past while still holding the philosophers accountable for contradictions and inconsistencies in their thought that are clearly the products of willful ignorance, chauvinism, and unexamined bias. An informed historical approach allows us to see how books are not simply “products of their time” but are situated in networks of knowledge and ideology that shaped their authors’ assumptions and continue to shape our own—ideologies that persist into the present and cannot and should not be papered over or easily explained away with skittish warning labels and didactic lectures about how much things have changed. In a great many ways of course, they have. And in some significant others, they simply haven’t. To pretend otherwise for the sake of the children is disingenuous and does a grave disservice to both author and reader.
Text by Josh Jones

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The world turn'd upside down

The world turn'd upside down: or, A briefe description of the ridiculous fashions of these distracted times
 by T. J., Taylor, John , Jordan, Thomas, 
London:  Printed for John Smith, Jan 28 1646.

Fever of the Antique

Pleasure of Curve (Statistics), 2013, ceramic, plaster, wood, 100x15x14cm

The exhibition Fever of the antique enlightens the aesthetics of fragmentation through the influence that the practice of excavation exercised on the configuration of modernity's logic of representation and identity. In addition, it enquires the meaning, which has been attributed to the recovery of the extracts of the past in the contemporary Greek condition and the ideology of the collective self-determination.
The systematic excavations implemented under the shadow of the ideas of neoclassicism and romanticism by the archaeological schools of the emerging European nation states, brought to light numerous, yet unseen, fragments of earlier cultures. The condition of the findings, despite the deterioration and the elliptical quality of the figures, was idealized and influenced the Western perceptibility. It configured, not only a visual model but also an ideological, ethical and aesthetical legacy. What until then had only been slightly discernible, was eventually embedded in the Western Canon of modernity: the aesthetics of the fragment, the poetics of elliptical narration, concealment, repulsion and hint; and in dialectical contradiction, the logic of the archive (as a substitution for the incoherently structured –early colonial– cabinet of curiosities), the need for recalling, narrating and putting in order an already existing material, the retrospective attribution of meaning.

Fever of the antique associates the poetics of fragmentation with the sense of detachment experienced by modern subjects; the dematerialisation of the present and the urge to constantly interpret the elusive past, constitute the subject of exploration by the artistic practices, which are woven together in the curatorial project. The exhibition, above all, seeks to remind the need for tracing the path towards the principle of reality and encourages an embedded perspective as a prop, which will provide the foundation for the lessening of the local identity’s precarious correlations. Finally, Fever of the antique addresses a positioning beyond antiquity’s continuous recurrence (i.e. out of the power of the precedent), testing the symmetries between the present and the past.

Curated by Evangelia Ledaki
Artists: Paki Vlassopoulou, Kostis Velonis, Efthimis Theou/Electra Angelopoulou/Anthi Efstratiadou, Lizi Kalliga, Alexandros Laios, Kostas Bassanos, Yiannis Papadopoulos, Nina Papaconstantinou, Dimitris Foutris, Kostas Christopoulos
FEVER OF THE ANTIQUE Association of Greek Archaeologists

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sadness, be gone!

As mathematicians meet in New York to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Dürer's print Melencolia, Karl Galle asks whether it is a depiction of despairing genius or of scholarly optimism 

This is Not My Beautiful House

Anastasia Ax 
Apostolos Georgiou 
Socratis Socratous 

Borrowing its title from the lyrics of the famous song by Talking Heads, the exhibition This is Not My Beautiful House will bring together four artists: Anastasia Ax, Apostolos Georgiou, Socratis Socratous and Kostis Velonis, who are engaged, directly or indirectly, with the present ‘Greek’ – not to say global – condition.
The everyday here in Greece seems like a leaky vessel. And while the water level is dropping, ideas on how to survive in the post-capitalism desert do not come easily. The scenario is pretty ruthless, yet life seems to go on, seeking its best outcome, under the warm sun.
As we are experiencing this period of change, where everything is in flux, the space loses its shape and transforms into nothingness. Athens reveals itself as a utopian place: a space for the impossible and for ‘everything that is possible’. Amidst all these we find ourselves in limbo. Unaccustomed to the speed of change as well as to the density of events that occur in multiple layers all at once we become alien to all our own given assumptions.
In terms of the best of the worse, the daily routine is not the daily routine we knew anymore; the city is not the city we knew anymore; the politics are not the politics we can recognise anymore; our belongings do not belong to us anymore; and the public space does not belong to us either, although private space is negotiable, if there still is one. We are an entity in transfer, a country on sale, in which nothing is familiar anymore. We are living through a rapture.  
This is Not My Beautiful House as a title has no direct references to 80s pop music or New York culture. In the absence of any other significant manifestos, it serves as the perfect tag to describe a world that is unfolding between fears and desires stigmatised by the current economic and social moment. As a line from a pop song, this quote has surely been interpreted and felt in many different ways by many different people. In the case of this exhibition, it becomes a parable for the contemporary state of social and existential alienation. This is Not My Beautiful House refers here to contradictory notions and desires like going or staying, living or dying, trying or surrendering, hoping or giving up; a topography in which the only certainty is that things cannot go on anymore as they were.
Kunsthalle Athena chooses to focus this year once more on Greek artists. With the exception of Anastasia Ax, who is an artist with duel houses and duel exiles, and vividly experiences the Greek situation via family and relatives, the other artists insist on living in Athens, despite the difficult situation and the fact that their international careers might have provided them with a way to leave.
Participants : Anastasia Ax, Apostolos Georgiou, Socratis Socratous and Kostis Velonis
Kunsthalle Athena
May 16 - September 11, 2014